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In Quarantine

Erin Maglaque

Après Brexit

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: Springtime for Donald

David Bromwich

Meetings with their Gods

Claire Hall

‘Generation Left’

William Davies

At the North Miami Museum: Alice Paalen Rahon

Mary Ann Caws

Buchan’s Banter

Christopher Tayler

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Christian Lorentzen

Fiction and the Age of Lies

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In Lahore

Tariq Ali

GOD HATES YOUR FEELINGS

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Rereading Bowen

Tessa Hadley

At the Corner House

Rosemary Hill

William Gibson

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Poem: ‘Murph & Me’

August Kleinzahler

The Stud File

Kevin Brazil

John Boorman’s Quiet Ending

David Thomson

In Shanghai: The West Bund Museum

John-Paul Stonard

Diary: The Deborah Orr I Knew

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The Word from Wuhan

Wang Xiuying

OperationDavid Craig
Close
Close

The condition (cancer) and the person (myself)
Reeled towards each other over the years,
Capsules slowly converging. Now they have docked –
‘Raped!’ the Soviet spacemen used to shout
As the new arrival fitted in.

                                              The surgeon
Is using homely words: ‘We will take away
Everything except the nerves and muscles’
(That’s sound, just what I would have done myself).
‘The drains are rather a gamble, but presently
The lymph will find a new route through your body.’
His voice is cool, managerial, green eyes steady
Above the plump cheeks fledged with steely stubble.

Steady is good. I want him perfect – perfectly
Drawing his scalpel round below my armpit,
No tremor, no indecision, his focus keen
As a kestrel swithering over its prey, then stilled
As a cloud in Nevada, brain become all eye,
Sharpening and fining-down each grass-blade, wind-twitch,
Bee-shadow, mouse-breath, muscle-fibre, nerve-end,
Blood-vessel, vein-valve, lymph-gland, cancer-nodule ...
The steel beak is sure. It feels and knows.
The hit is imminent. This programme cannot stop.
The invisible brain distils its brilliant drop.

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